Very early on in my Christian walk, there was something in me that craved intimacy with Jesus. I don’t take credit for it, I realize it is His grace on my life. As someone once shared with me, they felt God had reached down in my heart upon the day of my salvation and opened up a well of living water in my heart. It would ever run with pure living water as long as I fostered intimacy with Jesus in my life. When I was still a recent college grad (that was a long time ago), I would wake up very early in the morning to encounter Jesus. Tony Campolo was the speaker at the conference where I came to know Christ in college. I have always carried with me a story that he told. He would usually try to wake up 30-45 minutes earlier than his wife and just lay in his bed in silence encountering Jesus. I was compelled to try the same. It worked! Even though I was tired getting up so early, I would lie in my bed and enjoy the presence of Jesus. I don’t really do it that way anymore, but for that season of my life it helped me develop a deep intimacy and closeness with Jesus. Since that point, I have longed to go deeper and deeper with Him.
Although we each have different gifts and callings, we also have a similar mutual calling: to know Him. There is no greater joy in life than knowing Him. Being a husband, a father, a pastor or any other thing can’t even compare to knowing Him personally. Our fulfillment in our different roles in life flows from a deep abiding relationship with Jesus.
Let the words of John 15 ring true in your heart:
John 15:5 ESV I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Nothing really means nothing: nothing of eternal value, nothing that means anything, nothing worthwhile or of a worthy nature, wood, hay, stubble – nothing. What does it mean to abide? It’s a verb that means; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand tarry (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary). It’s all about relationship. Jesus came to open up a relationship between humanity and God and establish His kingdom. By living a sinless life, dying on the cross to pay for sin (enduring the wrath of God), and rising again from the dead, He conquered sin and death while demolishing everything that was keeping us separated from God. Now we have access. So what will you do with it?
Stay tuned for how this applies to church planters, church leaders, followers and non followers alike!